Trump tweets out threat to withdraw broadcast licenses to retaliate against TV networks “fake news” (see PEN America’s joint statement here). Senator Ben Sasse accuses the President of reneging on his oath to uphold the First Amendment. NBC News is accused of quashing Harvey Weinstein sexual assault story when Ronan Farrow first brought his reporting to them. Actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s more than 20 accusers, is blocked from Twitter, presumably for her messages targeting those she accuses of enabling Weinstein. PEN America launches landmark new report on fake news, including News Consumers Bill of Rights (see Washington Post article and Foreign Policy column on the report). -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director
The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today
Can Trump Really Shut Down NBC?
President Trump raised the prospect of retaliating against NBC over “fake news,” asking “at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?” Can he do that? Probably not, in part because the NBC network has no licenses and in part because the federal government cannot legally police political speech.
GOP senator to Trump: Are you ‘recanting of the’ Oath of Office?
Sen. Ben Sasse is questioning whether President Trump’s claim that it’s “disgusting” that the press can “write whatever it wants” suggests that he is reneging on his Oath of Office. The claim follows an earlier suggestion that the federal government challenge NBC News’ broadcast license.
How Top NBC Executives Quashed The Bombshell Harvey Weinstein Story
After facing months of opposition at NBC network, his home network, Reporter Ronan Farrow ultimately took the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault story to The New Yorker .
Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan ‘suspended by Twitter’ for ‘violating site’s rules’
McGowan, one of Weinstein’s more than 20 accusers, says she has been suspended by Twitter. She has used Twitter to call for the board of the Weinstein Company to be dissolved following the allegations against its co-founder.
The Pro-Free Speech Way to Fight Fake News
With the proliferation of overtly partisan media, lower barriers to entry into public discourse, and information flooding across news, consumers need new tools to sort through choices and make informed decisions about where to invest their attention and trust. Here’s how PEN America starts a news consumers’ movement.
Wife Of Azerbaijani Journalist ‘Abducted’ In Georgia Flees To Germany
Afqan Muxtarli and his wife fled to Georgia in 2015, fearing for their safety in connection with his reporting on suspected corruption in President Ilham Aliyev’s circle. Muxtarli disappeared on May 29, and his wife decided to leave for Germany because she did not feel safe in Georgia anymore.
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY
In Hong Kong, It’s the Fans Who Protest During the National Anthem
In the United States, athletes protest during the national anthem. In Hong Kong, fans do—a protest of Beijing’s growing influence in this semiautonomous city. Last month, China’s legislature approved a law prohibiting disrespect of the anthem and outlining punishments for people who do not “stand with respect” when it is played.
NEW YORK TIMES
Iranian Baha’i Poet Named PEN International Writer Of Courage
Sabet was one of seven Baha’i leaders arrested in 2008 and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment. Baha’is face state persecution in Iran where their faith is not recognized in the country’s constitution.
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY
Hong Kong Refuses Entry to UK Human Rights Campaigner After ‘Warning Texts’
Immigration authorities in Hong Kong denied entry to a U.K. human rights activist amid apparent concerns that he would visit three jailed democracy activists. His lawyer said the immigration department is likely feeling the impact of China’s massive “stability maintenance” operation in the run-up to the 19th party congress.
RADIO FREE ASIA
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